Last week, I had brunch with Grace at one of our favorite restaurants—Henrietta’s Table in Cambridge. Grace has been getting on my case. She’s been encouraging me for months to send out my poetry manuscripts to publishers before I become a grandmother and a part-time daycare provider for my first grandchild. We talked a lot about my poetry during brunch.
Yesterday, Grace and I had a long talk on the phone about which manuscripts I should get back to work on. The discussion reminded me of a get-together I had had with Grace and Janet Wong a couple of years ago. That day, they gave me advice about the poetry collections that I had already written. In fact, they even gave me a great idea for a brand new collection. I returned home and I began work on it right away. The new collection, titled Docile Fossil, includes poems about dinosaurs and other extinct animals, fossils, the La Brea Tar Pits, and the Petrified Forest.
One thing I had forgotten about our conversation that day was the suggestion both Grace and Janet had given me about my collection of animal mask poems. They thought the collection included poems about too many different kinds of animals—and that it needed a narrower focus. They thought I should include only poems about animals that children might see in their backyards or neighborhoods. After talking to Grace yesterday, I remembered their suggestion—and got back to work eliminating poems from the collection...and thinking of subjects for new poems. Grace and I decided on a tentative title for the collection: Backyard Voices. It will include poems about earthworms, a butterfly larva, a silkworm pupa, crickets, a snail, a slug, a spider, frogs, a baby bird trying to break out of its shell, and a number of other little creatures.
Here is one the animal mask poems that I had to cut from the collection:
by Elaine Magliaro
I’m grizzly bear. I’m fierce and fat…
And dangerous. Remember that!
My teeth are sharp as sabers.
My curvy claws can cut like saws,
And when I prowl the woods I growl
And frighten all my neighbors.
I rule the land. This forest’s mine!
I ain’t NOBODY’S valentine!
Don’t think that you can be my friend…
At Wild Rose Reader, I have a cento poem that I wrote for a retiring music teacher who worked for many years at the school where I taught. She was fabulous!
The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Carol’s Corner this week.